How bad can a cold marketing email be? Come closer my friends, come closer ...

22 Feb 2017

The one thing we want to do as a BD agency is try and promote best practice when it comes to marketing and business development. 

 

We employ a number of ways and means to do that and working hard to give people the focus and confidence to try new things is at the heart of our ethos.  And if you’re going to work on confidence you have to be constructive, even-handed and accentuate the positive whilst ignoring the negative.

 

All very worthy.  All rules to live your life by but …

 

… the only trouble is sometimes something so repugnant, so brain-singingly awful comes across your desk that you just have to pull the wings off that particular fly.  Publicly.  Today was one of those days.

 

This is the heavily redacted version of an email one of our longest-lasting clients and closest friends sent us this morning.  They’d received it from a law firm (they’re accountants) obviously trying to court referrals but … oh read it for yourself:

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

X Solicitors are an established law firm serving [town], [city] and [region].

 

We are looking to grow our commercial and private client department and write to propose a marketing lunch/dinner between one of the partners in your firm and one of the partners in our firm to establish a mutually beneficial referral arrangement.

 

The commercial department at X Solicitors have extensive expertise in all aspects of commercial law, from complex commercial and corporate transactions and disputes, spanning a range of industries and sectors to commercial agreements and contracts. We work closely with leading experts to analyse risks, protect assets and resolve disputes efficiently and effectively.

 

We currently refer work to [town down the road] based accountancy firm and vice versa but would like to expand our [probably the UK’s biggest city/most coveted market] clientele.  

 

Please contact us on [phone] or [email].

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Kind regards

 

Customer Services

(Marketing Team)

 

OK, so in this particular little shop of horrors let’s start at the top.

 

Do you think ‘Dear sir/madam’ makes the recipient feel special?  One of the questions we’re often asked is whether or not it’s acceptable to use a first name as a salutation (I’d say yes by the way) but to send it out with not even a vague nod to who you’re addressing?  Forget it.  People want to feel special not another line on your MailChimp.

 

Ignoring this is as far from personalised marketing as it’s possible to be, given this is the most competitive relationship-driven professional services market any of us have ever seen, do you think “one of the partners in your firm and one of the partners in our firm to establish a mutually beneficial referral arrangement” is going to be hugely persuasive? 

 

Name the partners you think would click best.  Look at your respective websites to see which practice areas match.  Then look at the LinkedIn profiles to make sure the age/gender/personal interests match.  “One of” personifies lazy marketing and will NEVER generate a response that doesn’t involve the delete button.

 

“The commercial department at X Solicitors have extensive expertise in all aspects of commercial law, from complex commercial and corporate transactions and disputes, spanning a range of industries and sectors to commercial agreements and contracts”  Oh brilliant, you are generalists so have mass marketed to anyone you consider generalist so have no knowledge of what we do and where we specialise but want to trumpet a ‘gizzajob’ manifesto … that makes me feel properly special.

 

And the sign off.  Where do I start with the sign off?  The brackets around ‘marketing team’?  The fact marketing is a post-script to customer services (and which customers are you serving … do you not have clients?) or the fact YOU CAN’T EVENT BE BOTHERED TO PUT YOUR NAME AT THE BOTTOM?

 

I could go on but I’m hoping you get the point.  As someone who readily champions best practice I trust you’ll indulge me in sharing by far the worst practice I’ve seen in some time.

 

And for those cynics who thinks this has been written to make a point … unfortunately not, this is totally real (and went to a generic email address at a very old incarnation of the firm who shared it).

 

 

 


Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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